This morning the CERN press office emailed a lot of people, hitting ksjtracker’s in-box as well, to announce an expected thud. The ICARUS experiment at Italy’s inside-the-mountain Gran Sasso laboratory ran another test on how long neutrinos took to reach it after birth at the CERN lab to the north. They broke no speed limits, apparently settling the hubbub after those running another Gran Sasso experiment called OPERA last year timed them at slightly faster than light. Not that anybody much believed it. The puzzled OPERA team appealed for help in figuring out what happened. Recently, evidence emerged of a mis-calibration in timing equipment. Now, independent test solidifies belief that Einstein was right, again.
Unclear is whether the newly measured speed, errors bars included, looks plausibly to be that of photons. CERN merely says they don’t break the speed of light. That leaves room for same-as. Neutrinos have an oonch of mass. So even if it were on the button as in Star Trek’s old ‘warp one’ one can only presume it would present opportunities for theorists to stay up all night scribbling.
It didn’t take long for news outlets to respond.
- Bloomberg News – Makiko Kitamura: Neutrinos Move Near Light Speed in New Experiment, CERN Says.
- Washington Post – Brian Vastag: Not so fast: Second experiment refutes faster-than-light particles ;
- AP – Frank Jordans: New test nixes findings about faster-than-light neutrinos ; He sat right down an telephone Carlo Rubbia to get his quotes.
- Nature.com – Geoff Brumfiel: Neutrinos not faster than light ;
- Reuters – Ben Hirschler: New test finds neutrinos didn’t beat light barrier ;
- … more coming in
Grist for the Mill: CERN statement ;
– Charlie Petit